My Love Letter to the Bryn Mawr Hospital

Things happen—and sometimes they hurt.

Some places you never want to visit but often do anyway—7-Elevens, turnpike rest stops, the random relative who still doesn’t have cable or Wi-Fi. 

The emergency room.

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After all, no one ever says, “You know what would be fun? WebMD’ing the searing pain in my abdomen while trying to contain my nausea.”

But things happen. Life happens. 

I’ve visited ERs blinded by migraines and unable to walk after a slip on the ice. I’ve accompanied declining in-laws who decided to spring their latest malady on us over Thanksgiving dinner.

“Pass the gravy, please.”

“I’ve had blood in my urine for weeks.”

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“No dessert for me, thanks.” 

If you haven’t arrived by ambulance or holding a detached limb, you’ll likely be seated in the ER for a wait that could last hours. The scenery could range from cops hauling in boozy perps in handcuffs, to infants crying nonstop, to a handyman clamping a blood-drenched towel over a nasty gash. 

It is an emergency room, after all. And like most 7-Elevens and turnpike rest stops, ERs never close, be it Christmas Day or a Tuesday in June. When your kid has a severe allergic reaction, you could care less about ratings and accreditations. Cable TV in every room matters little when a baby’s fever spikes. It’s all about the quality of care—not made-to-order omelets in the cafeteria. 

So consider this my love letter to Bryn Mawr Hospital. Its staff accommodated my migraine-induced light sensitivity to an exceptional degree. They took the time to explain what was happening to me in layman’s terms, and they even gave me a ballpark on how long the wait would be for my test results.

Would it be a stretch to call it the Disney World of local ERs? Perhaps. But you’d swear Bryn Mawr has a tunnel system similar to Disney’s to contain the behind-the-scenes chaos. Now, about that character parade. 

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Katie Bambi-Kohler’s most bizarre trip to the ER came when a bug bite on her eye made her look like Sloth from The Goonies. Visit her website at

Illustration by Sarah Ferone.

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